Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In town: Dessen/Sedaris

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM

I admit I'd never heard of Sarah Dessen. I admit I've read only the first 50 pages or so of her novel What Happened to Goodbye (new in paperback from Speak, an imprint of Penguin). But already I can see why Dessen's novels have sold in the millions, why they've been translated into more than two dozen languages, why her work regularly makes the list of the American Library Association's best books for young adults, why two of her novels were adapted for a film (How To Deal, starring Mandy Moore), and why, for Dessen's book signing at The Booksellers at Laurelwood on Thursday, April 18th, at 6 p.m., a line ticket is required. (Ticket available with the purchase of any Dessen title.) And based on 50 pages of What Happened to Goodbye, it's a fact: Sarah Dessen has a sure way with the issues facing today's teens. She's just as sure on the issues facing parents. Her proven page-turning appeal: understandable, undeniable. So's the appealing personality that goes with her website's blog.

And on the topic of audience appeal: David Sedaris is again in town on Saturday, April 20th, at the Michael Rose Theatre at the University of Memphis to read from and sign his latest book of essays, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls (Little, Brown). Doors open at 7 p.m.; event begins at 8. Check here for tickets. And prepare to explore — Sedaris does in his new book — French dentistry, Chinese squat toilets, a North Carolina Costco, and the eating habits of the kookaburra, an Australian bird whose unmistakable call, according to Wikipedia, sounds like "loud, echoing human laughter" — "good-natured, but rather hysterical, merriment" (in the case of the Laughing Kookaburra) or "maniacal cackling" (in the case of the Blue-Winged Kookaburra). Rather like the merriment Sedaris elicits from audiences. And yes, I've sure heard of him. Admit, though, I haven't had a chance to explore (yet) this issue of diabetes and owls.

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